Daily Mail


Were green targets to blame for fire tragedy? Why were the families told to stay in their flats? How many more tinder-box towers are there?

- By Chris Greenwood, Sam Greenhill and Vanessa Allen

MINISTERS faced disturbing questions last night over what led to the worst British disaster since Hillsborou­gh.

With the Grenfell Tower toll expected to rise to triple figures, officials were accused of presiding over a litany of appalling blunders.

experts questioned whether dubious insulation which turned the building into a ‘roman candle’ was installed simply to meet environmen­tal targets, while furious residents accused authoritie­s of condemning scores to die by ordering them to ‘stay put’ in their death-trap flats.

and officials raced to identify how many more tower blocks are at risk after being refurbishe­d with the same insulation at huge cost to taxpayers.

such was the ferocity of the blaze, police say they may never be able to identify some victims. after another day of harrowing images and eyewitness testimony: Theresa May ordered a full public inquiry; scotland Yard launched a criminal investigat­ion amid a chorus of calls for those

responsibl­e for botched safety measures to face prosecutio­n;

Whitehall sources said the death toll was likely to reach more than 100, although a senior policeman said ‘it is not inevitable’;

It emerged that the united States had banned the flammable cladding that allegedly encased the tower block;

David Lammy, the Labour MP for tottenham, branded the tragedy ‘corporate manslaught­er’ and demanded arrests amid claims penny-pinching may have fuelled the blaze;

Calls to fit sprinklers in all old tower blocks were rejected six years ago, with the government saying it was ‘not economical­ly viable or practical’.

tension boiled over last night as London Mayor Sadiq Khan was confronted by a 300-strong crowd.

A residents shouted: ‘Someone needs to be held accountabl­e – these deaths could have been prevented.’ One seven-yearold boy asked the mayor: ‘How many children have died?’

Mr Khan replied quietly: ‘the bad news is, I’m afraid, lots of people died in this fire. I know it’s very sad because you might have a friend in there.’

earlier Mrs May said the public ‘deserve answers’ amid mounting claims that a string of opportunit­ies to prevent the tragedy were missed.

After visiting emergency workers at the scene, the Prime Minister said: ‘We need to know what happened, we need to know an explanatio­n. We owe that to the families, to the people who have lost loved ones and the homes in which they lived.

‘that is why I am ordering a full public inquiry so we can get to the answers.’

Scotland Yard has confirmed 17 people died in Wednesday morning’s blaze, including six victims suspected to have fallen or jumped from the tower. the bodies of the other 11 victims remain inside the smoulderin­g shell because it is too dangerous for rescue crews to go inside.

Some 30 patients remain in hospital, many with injuries from breathing hot fumes. Half of them are fighting for their lives in a critical condition. Investigat­ors said their ‘top priority’ was to recover and identify all of the victims, and warned the painstakin­g process could take ‘weeks or months’.

the blaze is believed to have started in a faulty fridge in the fourth-floor flat of minicab driver Behailu Kebede.

the huge slabs of cladding used on the building’s exterior to conserve heat and reduce greenhouse gasses have been blamed for the fire’s rapid spread.

It has been suggested the material was not required to meet the same stringent fire standards as those used inside the tower, and enabled flames to tear through it. A Whitehall source said the emergency services fear the final toll will be more than 100. ‘It will be three figures,’ the source said. However, the exact number of people who perished may never be known as there is no way of establishi­ng exactly who was in the flats at the time.

Metropolit­an Police Commander Stuart Cundy said some victims may never be identified and that the process could take ‘weeks or months’.

Officers who worked on the July 2005 London bombings and December 2006 Asian tsunami said they will use dental records, fingerprin­ts and DnA to put a name to remains. If only one is available, the coroner will insist they use a secondary identifyin­g factor, for example a tattoo, scar or medical implant with a serial number. One man has been identified because he was carrying his passport.

the first pictures inside the inferno tower revealed blackened hand prints on stairwell walls, kitchen tables melted and washing machines stopped mid-load.

Asked if the death toll will be in the hundreds, Cmdr Cundy said: ‘I just don’t know. I like to hope it is not going to be triple figures, I really do. It is not inevitable.’

Mr Lammy said: ‘this is the richest borough in our country treating its citizens in an appalling way and we should call it what it is. It is corporate manslaught­er.’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested the homes of rich Kensington neighbours could be seized for grenfell tower residents made homeless.

‘Some victims may never be identified’

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